Independent Project Pathway

Student-designed projects in the creatives arts, humanities, education, policy, and social sciences

Summer 2021

The H&S Summer Scholars Program for 2021 will have a revised timeline due to the challenging times we are in. Details still being work on but applications coming soon. Check back for updates. 

Four Types of Projects

A mentor with two students discussing
  • Creative work - examples include studio art, directing a theatre production, and creative writing.
  • Scholarship - examples include archival research and document- or text-based analysis.
  • Field-based studies - examples include case studies, participant-observation, community outreach, and action research.
  • Research projects - examples include developing and implementing surveys and conducting statistical analysis of data.

Applications for Summer 2020 are now closed. Please check back for information about the summer 2021 program.

Project Characteristics

Student-designed independent projects are those in which you

  • Pursue an original project where the outcome or answer is unknown
  • Generate direction for the project in collaboration with a faculty mentor
  • Take ownership and responsibility for the work
  • Strive to meet professional standards appropriate to the discipline
  • Engage and/or share outcomes with the wider disciplinary or local community
  • Are guided by consistent and active faculty mentoring
  • Practice structured reflection throughout the project with guidance from your faculty mentor

The Faculty Review Committee will also consider projects in which the faculty member has designed the scope of the project, as long as you have a significant role in the collaboration.

Most scholars pursue their projects in Ithaca or the local area. We also expect that your mentor will be available in Ithaca to provide active mentoring to you throughout the summer. Make sure you discuss with your mentor whether they will be able to meet this expectation. In rare cases, students propose projects that require you to be at another location in order to complete it (e.g., conducting research in archives located in another city). In this case, your application must explain how you and your Faculty Mentor will stay in regular contact in order to meet the goals both of your project and of the Summer Scholar program.

If your field-based or research project involves living human beings, whether in a face-to-face or online survey context, you have to submit the project design for review and approval by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board at IC before your project begins in the summer. If you're not sure whether your project falls into this category, you can reach out directly to the IRB for clarification (irb@ithaca.edu) or attend one of their meetings.

Professionally-focused internships are not generally supported through this program. Other types of projects may be considered.

Award Criteria

The Review Committee considers the following criteria in their review of applications:

  • Effective research/scholarship design.
  • A combination of well-defined project goals with feasible implementation plans.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient preparation (through coursework or previous experience) to engage in and be successful in the project.
  • Evidence that you have collaborated with your faculty mentor on the project design and there is a clear plan for active mentoring by your faculty mentor (note: your faculty mentor must also submit an application).
  • Proposals that are professionally written, that clearly express your voice, and that persuasively describe your ownership of/leadership role in the project.

In addition to these criteria, the Program also endeavors to have a variety of disciplines represented by the Scholars' projects.

Faculty who guide such projects are typically drawn from the following H&S departments

Anthropology Art
Art History Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity
Communication Studies Economics
English Environmental Studies and Sciences
Gerontology History
Jewish Studies Modern Languages and Literatures
Politics Psychology
Sociology Theatre Arts


Please review the Program Expectations and Eligibility Requirements on Information for Students before submitting your application.  

All students apply to the H&S Summer Scholars Program via an online application form. 

To view a blank version of last year's application form, please click here.  Please know that this application will be revised for summer 2021. 

Sample Independent Project Portfolios

Our Scholars develop ePortfolios to document and reflect on their experiences at the conclusion of the summer. Below is a selection from the past two summers. 

Creative WorkDean Shinner '21 Art (BFA)

Creative WorkAndrew Lackland '21 Art (BFA)

Field-Based Studies - Rachael Geary '21, Anthropology

Scholarship - Matthew Attanasio '21, English

Research - Grayson Stevens '21, Applied Psychology

Deadlines 2021

Application Opens February 1, 2021
Application Deadline

March 1, 2021

Awards Announced April 1, 2021
Confirmation of Participation April 15, 2021